Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Perfectly Timed Power Outage

So it's time for a small update, but an important one!

Those closest to me know that this first week has been difficult for me. I've had a hard time adjusting not just to the time change, but to my life in a new place living without family and friends nearby. I've never traveled to a foreign country without a bunch of people traveling with me and I've never lived on my own without friends or family in the house with me! This experience is brand new in every way possible and my skills that would allow for an easier transition have never had to be developed until now.

With all the turmoil of missing home and being alone in a new country, I've been keeping to myself in the house I live in. Although there are 11 other students here and one house mom, I've generally only spoken to them when we happen to cross paths in the hallways at the beginning and end of the day. Although they all seem lovely, I haven't felt comfortable enough to embrace them as new friends because I'm still so new here.

As part of adjusting, I made a rule for myself that I absolutely was not allowed to Skype anyone within my first two weeks in Cape Town. I wanted to rule out the possibility that Skyping with home often would prevent me from meeting people here in Cape Town. I was told by a mentor that I should feel free to break that rule and Skype my parents if I was having an exceptionally hard time, and I finally decided that this Saturday when my parents were just waking up in the States, I would ask if they could Skype. And so we did!

Our tearful (on my end) conversation consisted of me updating them on life here and telling them exactly what had me so emotional and worried. I also cried a lot when I saw my beautiful dog, Lola! She is definitely one of the hardest creatures to leave behind this year, but I so look forward to her reaction when she sees me again, finally.

At one point during our conversation, there was a knock on my door. Now, I don't think anyone has ever knocked on my door before so I was so surprised, but answered it even though I was in the middle of crying to my parents. My neighbor, Sbo, was there and was looking to connect over some series that I might have that she didn't. Since I was in the middle of Skyping with my parents, I told her that I'd come to her room when I got off with them and that we should chat then! I was so excited to have the possibility of a friend that I didn't realize I'd done EXACTLY what I meant not to do when I made the rule. I had let Skyping my family back home get in the way of making a connection out here in Cape Town! What was I thinking??

But I missed my parents too much and so we kept talking. We talked about their visit out here during summer break (their winter break) and where they might stay and what they might do. And in the middle of all that, suddenly, the power went out. And there was another knock on my door.

Another housemate, Melvynne, said she was just stopping by so that we could hang out. Although I hadn't gotten to say goodbye to my parents, the power was already out and they were already gone so I quickly shut down my computer and invited her into my room. We were joined by two other girls and quickly, I had friends.

If that power outage was not an act of God, I don't know what is. So thank you, God, for giving me this opportunity to make friends. I'll see what I can do on my end now to ensure those friendships last.

And Mom and Dad? Sorry I never came back, but I have friends now! I love you guys! Skype soon!

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